2021’s Where Are The Black Designers? Conference Is Right Around The Corner

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It’s back—the second annual Where Are The Black Designers? virtual conference will return this June 26th and 27th.

If you’re unfamiliar with the group behind the event, Where are the Black Designers? is a non-profit, volunteer-led design advocacy group making space for Black creativity, as well as connecting designers, educators, and creative leaders.

Dating back to 1987, in an original piece by Cheryl D. Miller on PRINT titled “Black Designers Missing in Action” and taking its name from a Maurice Cherry talk at SXSW in 2015, the question about where the Black designers are is an inquiry that, sadly, still needs answering 34 years later.

For two days, the non-profit group will host over 30 speakers on topics ranging from violent vs. non-violent allyship and creating spaces to recruiting as the gatekeeper of White Supremacy, all to project the voices, visibility, and creativity of Black designers.

The event is both free and accessible virtually. This year’s list of speakers includes Cheryl D. Miller, known for establishing one of the first Black women-owned design firms, Cheryl D. Miller Design Inc, in New York City in 1984, to design researcher and graphic designer Omari Souza, who has remarkable research exploring the idea of perceptions and how visual narratives shape culture. Wolff Olins CCO Forest Young will speak, as will the ever-popular Aaron Draplin, and with his usual irreverence, it’s sure to be a talk you won’t want to miss.

WATBD is also hosting a poster challenge that protests the racial disparity within the creative and tech industries in conjunction with the event. The challenge is open to any creatives, and you can submit your poster design to @wherearetheblackdesigners Instagram until June 20.

“This year, there is a sense of urgency and attention around the lack of representation in the design industry—this is so important,” the organization wrote in the run-up to the event. “As we push forward together, we must be mindful of the past and strategic about the future.” To register for the event, go here—it’s free, so what are you waiting for anyway.